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Perception of the missing fundamental in patients with low frequency hearing loss Horvath, Gary Paul


The perception of the pitch of a harmonic complex tone missing its fundamental frequency was investigated in patients with unilateral sensorineural low-frequency hearing loss. Using a two-alternative forced choice adaptive method and an adjustment technique, patients matched the pitch of a complex tone consisting of the 3rd-7th or 3rd-10th harmonics, with a pure tone. Component frequencies were chosen such that they would fall within the intact portion of the patient's damaged ear, but whose fundamental frequency would fall within the damaged frequency area. Pitch matches were made monaurally and binaurally, with and without low-pass filtered noise. Results indicated that the patients tended to match the pitch of the lacking fundamentals to the complexes even though the frequency of the residue pitch fell within the range of elevated pure tone thresholds. It is concluded that information regarding the residue pitch is not mediated by cochlear nerve fibers with characteristic frequencies corresponding to the fundamental. Temporal cues carried by fibers with characteristic frequencies corresponding to the partials within the complex stimulus are most likely involved in pitch perception.

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